MANATEE — A Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy who investigated child abuse cases was suspended from work for a week and then transferred after authorities said he failed to take proper action when a young child disclosed to him that his teenage son had sexually assaulted him.
Deputy Larry Jackson, whose son, D’Larryon Jackson, 14, has been found delinquent on multiple counts of sexual battery against a 4-year-old boy and two 8-year-old boys, appeared to have partial knowledge of at least one of the attacks and failed to report his son to authorities last year.
“I should have initiated a call to be reported to the proper authorities so that they, someone else probably outside myself, should have conducted a more fashionable interview,” Jackson told investigators when questioned, according to an internal affairs report.
In May, Jackson was suspended for a week and then transferred from the Child Protection Investigation Division, where he had worked for two years, back to the streets as a patrol deputy.
Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Connie Shingledecker said investigators could never prove Jackson had full knowledge of the incident.
Jackson told investigators he only thought his son had used foul language but never committed the acts. That contradicted the 4-year-old child’s report to authorities in December.
“We really just had the child’s statement,” Shingledecker said. “We had Larry Jackson’s statement. His verbiage is different than what the child stated. ... There has never been an issue with his credibility in the past. Technically, we could not prove he lied to us.”
Investigators in internal affairs ruled Jackson should have reported the child’s statement.
“And I think our concern here is that when a 4-year-old makes a statement like that, you’re really bound, even not as a law enforcement officer but as a caregiver and a parent, to do a little more than what was done,” stated an internal affairs investigator in a sheriff’s office report.
“And there’s so many different things that could have been done. You should have called, I mean you work ... here, that’s the problem, the biggest problem is where you work.”
Jackson could not be reached for comment Monday.
Last week, D’Larryon was found delinquent in juvenile court in another sexual abuse case involving a 9-year-old boy who was 8 at the time of the attacks. Authorities said the victim reported the incident this summer.
Circuit Court Judge Scott Brownell previously sentenced D’Larryon to probation in two other cases, which means he’s still at home with his family and he attends counseling sessions.
D’Larryon will be back in court at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 3 after a doctor reviews his progress, Brownell said in court.
When the 9-year-boy was asked in court last week why he never told the Jacksons about what had happened, he replied, “They wouldn’t listen.”
Several months after the 9-year-old was attacked, the 4-year-old disclosed to the Jacksons that their son had attacked him, according to reports. That evening, authorities say, D’Larryon again assaulted the boy.
Jackson told internal affairs investigators that the child told him nothing had happened, according to reports.
But investigators had their doubts about Jackson’s statement after they learned the child had told authorities that he had disclosed the attack to Jackson and his wife.
While working in child protection investigations, Jackson was responsible for conducting initial interviews in child abuse cases before a detective was assigned. He responded to about four child abuse calls a day, according to an internal affairs report.
Jackson told investigators had he been called to a similar situation at work, he would have taken a report and called the child abuse hotline.
When Jackson learned his son was facing criminal charges, he declined to let his son speak with detectives when a case was initiated by the victim’s parents.
The state attorney’s office was contacted for potential charges against Jackson.
Assistant State Attorney Ed Brodsky declined to prosecute Jackson.
“After review of the above referenced investigation, it has been determined there are sufficient internal administrative sanctions and remedies available, and criminal prosecution will not be pursued in this matter,” an internal affairs report stated in April.
Some of the attacks occurred when Jackson or his wife, Tiki, who works for the Florida Department of Children and Families, were at home with D’Larryon, according to reports.
“I didn’t see a time frame for it. I didn’t see how it could have happened. I didn’t think that anyone would do anything like that at that time of day with broad daylight and everybody’s there and the house is loaded,” Jackson told investigators.
Jackson told investigators he was thinking in the “father mode” and not in “cop mode” when he heard about the allegations, according to reports.
As a law enforcement officer, Jackson is a mandatory reporter of child abuse.
Jackson has worked for the sheriff’s office for seven years and his background prior to the sheriff’s office included working for a juvenile justice rehabilitation program where he said he was an in-house investigator for abuse allegations, according to his personnel file.
“That’s why we disciplined him. He didn’t violate the law, but he should have at least got someone else over there,” said Chief Inspector Ed Judy, who oversees internal affairs at the sheriff’s office. “That’s why he was disciplined for that. If he said, ‘Hey, my son told me he did it,’ then that would be a crime. That would be a much more serious violation.”
Jackson was removed from the Child Protection Investigation Division because “we didn’t feel comfortable with him in that unit,” Judy said.
Beth Burger, Herald staff writer, can be reached at 745-7919.